October 30, 2015

Dear fellow pilgrims,

I greet you all, hoping and praying the Holy Spirit is stirring up a fire in your hearts, preparing you and forming you for your role in bringing His Kingdom to earth. More and more, I have felt this fire in my own heart, I have felt more personally responsible for stewarding the gifts and roles I have been given to transform into His likeness. I pray that our Frassati community would consist of members whose active faith lives bring newness to this dying world around us, hope to all we encounter, especially in the charism of Pier Giorgio. But first, we must be convinced of this hope and promise of eternal life within ourselves, within our life stories that consist of many mundane and every day responsibilities, but, when offered in communion with Christ and a state of grace, bear heavenly fruit we cannot even begin to imagine.

I have been trying to focus on my life as bearing heavenly fruit lately, since it seems that my efforts to bear earthly fruit (productivity) have been relatively futile. Lately, I have been fighting discouragement from all sides, fighting the tendency to write my own lackluster ending (of my school program) and just accept it. Slowly, though, the Lord in His Mercy and grace is beginning to show me that even if I crash and burn (worst-case scenarios, ensue) in my pursuits, these circumstances alone would not provide any indication of the eternal work of Christ in my life. Of course, I have a moral duty to uphold my student vocation in life right now, and upholding that in the fullest extent will most likely lead to success, but regardless of how MY work bears MY results, HIS work and HIS results are the far greater story.

Lately, I have felt the comfort of voicing simple prayers when I am in transit.  These prayers seem to emerge from a place in my heart that I was not even aware, and somehow encapsulate a very deep wound or longing very simply.  The other day, I was walking in the Financial District and was bombarded with evidence of how Man seeks to build his dynasty of power, money, wealth, and yet how futile this pursuit is, how short life is, and how sad some people are who are caught up in this great lie of earthly success as the end-all, be-all goal of life.  This lie can be very subtly breathed in, as some seek to develop an intellectual prowess, and are less concerned about money, but more concerned about their own mind as their instrument to wield their contribution to an intellectual lineage.  This, too, emulates how Man seeks to build a personal dynasty or legacy.  

But in that moment of pondering Man’s wiles and whims, a prayer arose: “God, thank you for making me small. Thank you for giving this speck of dust an infinite soul. Thank you for saving me from all this mess. Thank you that I do not and cannot give myself what I truly desire.” I say this not to toot my own spiritual horn, but to provide a personal example of how the Holy Spirit meets us in our everyday moments to pervade us with a sense of eternity – He helps us see how little and helpless we really are to help ourselves.

Another small prayer that has pervaded my heart echoes that of the blind man heard in last week’s gospel: “Master, I want to see.”

How adamant are we in requesting vision from God?

I can just imagine this man, desperately sick of sitting and begging, and desperate for this man named Jesus to heal him. I can see this beggar, outcast and unsuccessful, thirsting for change, a chance, jump when Jesus walks by in a crowd, running towards Him.  Jesus, ever the Good Shepherd, listens to him, gives him the opportunity to ask HIM for anything, and the beggar responds as Solomon did – not asking for worldly success and riches, but to see.   I can hear the beggar’s hampered breath and raspy, hastened words as he projects them out of his blindness and into the ears of Christ. 

Do you pray from your blindness, our weariness, aches?

We should, for they are tender reminders of our nothingness. And without believing in our original nothingness, our existence only arising from the Hand of our Creator and Father, we cannot believe in the infinite Mercy of God, Who provides His infinite inheritance to be freely received or rejected. 

I invite you today to ask Jesus to show you where one wound, one longing is.  Ask him for vision to see yourself, and then pray from that place. That is, be silent in your mind before Him, allow Him to gently guide your gaze to your heart, and talk to Him as He is doing this. Ask him questions, tell Him that it hurts, tell Him whatever you’re feeling. When you engage with your own human longings, you will engage with the sufferings of Christ, and the Mercy of God.

Praised be the Suffering, Human Christ, who bore every wound and longing. 

Frassati NY